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Sounds odd? It is! Here it is in brief: The Jersey Electricity Chimney now carries two flues from the new incinerator whose emissions are strictly regulated, but emissions from its own flues in the same chimney are unregulated. Crikey! Shocked? So are we. Read on…

JEC and incinerator shared chimney (Photo courtesy of Dan Marsh
JEC and incinerator shared chimney (Photo courtesy of Dan Marsh)

The La Collette JEC chimney is unregulated: this means the Jersey Electricity Company (JEC) can and does discharge soot and exhaust gases without regulation.

Jersey’s new incinerator (officially called the ‘Energy from Waste Plant’) also uses this chimney via two new flues which:

  • run horizontally from the plant
  • and then into and up the chimney used by the JEC (see pic below)

These two flues are strictly regulated, and all APB’s, or ‘fly ash’ must be filtered and collected and kept from release into the atmosphere, and all emissions must be lower than EU current standards.

So we have one chimney with two sets of regulations.

Mr. D. Padfield, Operations Director of the Jersey Electricity Company, giving evidence in the Environmental Scrutiny Hearings of 26th May 2009, confirmed that the JEC chimney emits:

  • SOx
  • NOx
  • Soot
  • CO2
  • Water vapour

He confirmed that on start up the stacks emit soot and until recently the JEC had received hundreds of complaints a year.

Soot discharges

Mr. Padfield said, ‘Unfortunately when we run an appliance cold from start-up, there will inherently be some soot, if I can call it that, within the flue that we will discharge for the first hour or so while we bring everything up to speed.

‘We have and we continue to try and sweep the chimneys after major periods of production, after every winter, but we just cannot get everything out. There is a facility at the bottom of the chimneys to go in and effectively shovel this stuff away given the right protection and equipment and everything else, but it is always there on start-up and run-down.’

The emissions from the two flues from the incinerator are strictly monitored and results are expected soon to be released on a regular basis as promised by the TTS (Transport and Technical Services). We have seen the initial trial measurements which fall within the EU regulations.

Two rules = not acceptable

It is hard to see how a situation where the emissions released into the atmosphere from one chimney from several flues serving two installations, each with different regulations can be considered as acceptable?

And the situation of one chimney being ‘half regulated’ is peculiar if not unique? The burning question in our minds is just how are the authorities proposing to regulate or prevent the mixing of these emissions? We are not simply looking at one set of emissions, they have now created a cocktail effect.

EU law & Jersey’s compliance

As mandated by the Council of Environmental Ministers in December 2009, the European Union Commission is starting to look at how to address the daily reality of our exposure to mixtures of chemicals. The Council asked the European Commission to look at how EU law and policy addresses the risks from exposure to combinations of chemicals. The Commission must report back to Council by the early 2012 on what might be necessary legal changes, guidelines and ways to assess the risks from the so-called ‘cocktail effect.

The current Environment Minister Deputy Rob Duhamel indicated to SOS last July that he would ensure that the JEC chimney was fully regulated by the end of 2011. We await to hear what progress he has made.

JEC and incinerator shared chimney at La Collette, Jersey showing the shared pipes

One chimney, two rules! – January 2012
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